Bisate Lodge in Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, the elimination of plastic in innovative ways is a priority: first, the table stakes: the lodge uses a water filtration system and does not serve any plastic bottled water to guests or staff. Bisate Lodge
Why does the tourism industry and the politicians struggle with allowing consumers to travel during Covid times?
I’ve seen many strange regulations over the past few months.
Quite a few restrictions made me frustrated, as I feel it can be possible to let people travel safely, as long as general infection numbers remain low.
There are solutions to keep the risk low.
For example, it’s relatively easy to sell paperless tickets online for sights and activities, which limits the total number of visitors each day. Then for enforcing social distancing rules, provide limited entry to specific times, by providing extra time slots.
And if a Zoo in Cologne is capable of achieving this, others should be able to do this too. 😉
So there shouldn’t be pictures emerging online with visitors in super long queues, as you would only be allowed to turn up, when it’s your time to socially distance and to enjoy the attraction.
On the other side I think it’s essential to be strict on enforcing restrictions, as long as they make sense. If the local health system is struggling and new infections numbers are high, action should take place.
So as long the infection numbers remain high, it’s tough to recommend consumers to travel.
But what if the infection rate remains low and high-risk groups have been vaccinated?
Then we should find ways to make it possible, as we can’t let the tourism industry suffer for much longer, as local economies and job security rely on it.
Not to forget the fact that consumers might have missed out on a much needed holiday in 2020 and can’t wait to travel again, which is seen in advanced booking number figures and increased website traffic.
It seems that it’s all about testing and several times.
Also, airlines and airports can work together with the government and health boards to provide quick test results to avoid the risk of spreading the virus.
Those tests might not provide the best reliable results, but they add to a bigger and safer situation. One piece more of reassurance.
It makes no sense on arrival to lock down tourists for 14 days in a hotel room. I doubt tourists would be eager to do this. It doesn’t sound like a dream holiday situation and I wouldn’t do it.
Instead, why not allow guests access to the whole resort or specific parts until the PCR tests come back negative.
Hotel arrivals could take place on specific days, to allow hotel staff to take part in large deep cleaning operations and to avoid past guests mixing with new arrivals.
Hotels could choose the arrival day they prefer. Limited packages could be sold to control manageable visitor numbers and they could include a minimum stay of several nights.
Believe it or not, many tourists spend their holiday time at the pool or relaxing on the beach.
Being upfront about the additional steps needed to make a trip happen, I feel many would still be interested in travelling abroad.
There could be 3-4 tests to be made by guests:
– one PCR test before arrival, usually 48 hours before departure
– one rapid test at the airport
– one PCR test on arrival
– and one PCR test after 4-5 days before being allowed to leave the resort
If all tests are negative, the risk becomes low and avoids the chances of Covid-19 spreading further.
There is still a small chance that it can spread, but we should not forget that life itself is not completely 100% risk-free.
Washing hands, wearing a face mask, keeping socially distanced, all still help to reduce the spread of covid, we shouldn’t forget that.
With such a situation, it would be possible to allow visitors outside of the hotel and explore a destination, after a few days. Also, here again, you can define specific restrictions, which should be in place already anyway.
Destinations like the Seychelles, Barbados and Sri Lanka are good examples of how it could be done.
It might be easier for islands to manage arrivals, but I don’t see why it’s not also possible for other destinations.
Very important is that everyone sticks to the rules.
The visitors and the businesses need to play along!
The moment someone breaks the rules and refuses to follow guidance, they should be fined as they put the whole operation at risk.
Make customers sign waivers, so they’re aware of the risk. If they break the rules, send them home, allow no refund, let them pay for all extra costs as well as a fine.
If a hotel, airline or tour operator doesn’t play along, then close down the operation and add a fine.
Nobody is forcing anyone to open for business or travel. And if destinations and their politicians make it possible to travel again, everyone should appreciate this and play along to provide a safe environment for everyone.
Vaccines are currently being administered as we speak in many countries. And we will still have to deal with Sars-CoV-2 in the future, especially when we talk about international travel.
Communication is key!
When we ran the restart tourism recovery campaign with the UNWTO and Lanzarote in Spain, we got a lot of positive and interested feedback from travelers.
There was a high demand for seeking information. (Get in touch with us, if you are interested to get the case study.)
Travellers wanted to find out about the different restrictions, not really in detail, but more if it’s safe to travel.
Don’t show a post-Covid situation, as it’s not in operation yet.
Show that it’s safe and fun to travel, even with additional rules and restrictions.
We should learn from the past and see what worked and adapt. Let’s remain sensible and respectful and most importantly keep safe.
Let’s also stay realistic and don’t create ridiculous rules, but be responsible for everyone.
I’m sure you’ve had similar experiences I had whilst traveling. You’re in a certain place and a fellow traveler, or a local, tip you off on a little-known beach, bar or accommodation. Great travel tips from other travelers or locals always add something special to our travels. That was the inspiration for Travel Dudes.
Travelling to China can be a rather memorable experience. It’s a destination that feels like you’re travelling to a whole other planet. Whenever I get asked, have I travelled to China, I’m always reluctant to say yes.
I have a love/hate relationship with visiting China as it’s not a comfortable place to travel around. But please, don’t let this put you off your trip entirely, it’s a good thing.
I guess I love it more for this very reason, that it is a challenging country to travel around. And it is for this very reason I’ve put together this blog post as I wanted to share my top Useful things to know before you travel to China.
If only I had known these few things before I departed on my first trip to China, I feel I would have enjoyed my first trip a lot more. It is a country that grows with you over time.
I do hope that this information helps you to navigate around China A lot better from the get-go.
China offers many incredible destinations to travel too, such as:
- See pandas in Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding Center.
- Exploring the forbidden city of Beijing.
- Taking on the dangerous challenge of the plank walk on Mount Hua.
- Unearthing the Terracotta Army outside of the ancient city of Xi’an.
- Walking along the Great Wall of China.
- Exploring the busy hustle of Shanghai city.
- Relaxing on the tropical island paradise of Hainan.
Simply put, China covers a lot of ground for travellers with much to see and do.
After all, China is one of the world’s most populous countries. Did you know that you can find 102 cities in China with a population of over 1 million people? Now that’s a lot of people.
Nothing wrong with a challenge, In fact, I would prefer a challenge whilst travelling, It’s always a nice change to get lost on your own without an understanding of where you might end up.
Always be prepared before you travel, jump into the deep end and most importantly, have fun. However, I can give you a few tips I wish I knew before travelling to China.
You will have moments throughout your trip to China when all you can simply say is “oh China”! It is a special place, and you will stumble across the most bizarre of situations.
And a brief word of warning, health and safety is a whole different ball game in China. So do be on guard where ever you go and be sure to take out reliable travel insurance before your trip to ensure you’re covered.
You will need to arrange a VPN before your trip to China
The great firewall of china, nothing gets in, nothing gets out. It doesn’t bother locals that much that everything is blocked, as they have their own Chinese versions of popular services and apps.
Blocked websites in China:
- Google (Gmail, Maps, translate)
ALL BLOCKED! You have been warned.
Need not fear; you can quickly get around this blocking problem by downloading a popular virtual private network service called a VPN.
It’s essential that you find a VPN that works in China, and you set it up on your laptop and mobile smartphone before you arrive.
Once it’s set up, you can access all the above-blocked sites easily in China. Meaning you can stay connected with the outside world and carry on like usual.
Don’t damage your electronic devices
Make sure you have the correct voltage and adapters to charge your electronic devices. It’s a good idea to get a plug with a surge to be on the safe side. You have been warned.
Stick with tea and bottled water in China
Coffee is not a good idea in China; after all, they do so well as a nation to create incredibly tasty tea, why would you drink coffee?
Coldwater isn’t a thing; you’re more likely to see hot water on offer around China as many locals like to either add tea leaves or drink it on it’s own hot.
Avoid drinking tap water at all costs and purchase sealed bottled water when you need. Instead, Switch your coffee for tea, and you won’t be disappointed.
For an emergency brew, China does have Starbucks. Not that Starbucks is a great coffee, it’s just available just in case you do need your caffeine fix in the morning.
Otherwise, I would get a flask to fill up with hot water to add your tea leaves to in the morning. Do as the locals do and enjoy the excellent tasting tea on your trip to China.
You don’t need a Visa to enter China
Did you know that you don’t need a visa to enter China? I didn’t know this either, but British tourists flying from London to Hainan directly can enjoy a 30-day visa-free entry.
For the majority of trips to China, you are required to apply for a tourist visa to enter. But there are few exceptions where UK passport holders don’t need a visa.
Another example is an international traveller who is transiting through China within 72 hours. You need to reach another country within 72-hours to be eligible for the transit visa.
I used this transit visa whilst on a trip from London to Bangkok via Beijing, and I went hiking along the Great Wall of China within 72-hours and was able to enter China without the need for a visa.
Eat first, ask later, China will remain a mystery when it comes to food
My best advice for eating food in China is to order the set meal or the recommended dish and then eat before asking what it is.
Food in China can be an adventure in itself; the best advice is not to ask what you’re eating and just eat it. Eat first, then ask later.
You might be surprised by what you’re eating. China is a fun culinary destination, and I’ve enjoyed some incredible dishes having no idea what it is.
Also, Mock food is popular in China, such as Mock Duck or Mock Chicken as China perfected fake meat way before the impossible burger. This is mostly down to cost as meat can be expensive for locals and the mock version is much cheaper and has a similar taste and texture.
If you happen to have a dietary requirement, preference or allergy, it might be a little tricky to get across your requests in China. A good idea would be to translate these words in advance so you can have them on hand to work out with the restaurant what’s in the meal before eating.
I must warn you that they may say that the dish doesn’t contain an item when it does. This is entirely down to the language barrier and the ingredient being more used for a stock than being a key ingredient.
Jodi from Legal Nomad has put together some useful cards for those looking for Gluten Free options that will help with the translation issue. I’d highly recommend sorting this out before you travel to China.
Make sure you carry cash whilst travelling around China
Most payments in China are made through QR payment with digital wallets using apps such as WeChat Pay or Alipay.
It’s challenging to get a local sim card and activate these apps; travellers should withdraw local cash from an ATM as card payments such as American Express, Mastercard or Visa are not a common form of payment, especially for smaller transactions with local vendors, cash is your best option.
I’d recommend trying to locate and find an HSBC ATM to withdraw your cash in China and be sure to inform your bank ahead of time that you’re travelling to China to avoid your account being cut off.
Gobbing, Spitting and farting are all common practices in China
Trump, toot, bottom burp, One-Cheek Squeak or how about a Breezer? Fart to your hearts contents in China as locals don’t seem to mind openly in public.
I don’t think I will ever forget the moment a local dropped a tune whilst standing next to me. It was like getting permission to finally allow my body to unleash the orchestra performance of a lifetime out in public without any shame.
Please don’t get offended as it doesn’t fix anything, you’re in China now. Join in with the local customs.
However, it was the sound of the gobbing noise on almost every street corner of China that got to me. It’s again, relatively common practice and one that can’t be avoided.
Welcome to China, Spitting is relatively common; you will simply have to get used to it.
Another custom to get used to is the art of queuing. It doesn’t exist really; you might end up waiting a long time if you get in line.
A word of warning, Some toilets don’t have doors. Always carry a packet of tissues for when nature calls and practice the art of squatting before your trip to China, you will need to learn.
You will stumble across a language barrier in China
Good luck trying to speak English, you will have to learn Chinese; after all, you’re in China now.
Even some international hotels will struggle with language barriers so be prepared.
I’ve also noticed that some Chinese signs with English translations, usually don’t make any sense at all. You will be on your own when it comes to understanding the local language.
My best advice would be to download a translation app before your trip to China. Write down essential landmarks and the name of your hotel on your phone to show to taxi drivers just in case you get lost.
Another idea to understand your destination a lot better, would be to hire a local guide to help you navigate around the language barrier and understand China a lot better.
Most importantly, Chinese locals are super friendly
I first heard horror stories about how locals in China were mean and not friendly towards tourists; this was simply not the case from my experience.
I found China to be a friendly place to travel around and found locals filled with curiosity and interested in finding out more about your personal trip around China.
Especially in the remote areas of China that hardly see any tourists at all, locals will want to know what you’re up to and stop to take a photo with you.
Embrace your visit to China, take photos on every occasion, learn a few essential words to allow a connection and a smile, randomly hold babies for selfies (This is a thing!) and be prepared for friendly nods and smiles all round.
China is incredible, and you have to take it for what it is. After all, this is China.
Melvin is the founder and CEO of Travel Dudes, the COO of iambassador and co-founder of the Social Travel Summit.
Delta Air Lines is trialling mandatory Covid-19 testing in place of quarantines on select flights to Amsterdam and Rome. Courtesy of Delta Air Lines / Delta Air Lines
— Edward Russell
A Qatar Airways Boeing 777-300ER, shown in 2011. Qatar Airways
— Sean O’Neill
If you’re dreaming of your first post-covid getaway, the Philippines may well be at the top of your list. The archipelago of more than 7,000 islands offers paradisiacal beaches and natural beauty spots where you can really get away from it all.
One of the first things to consider as you plan your trip to the Philippines is when to visit. The best time of year for your adventure depends very much on your priorities. Weather conditions may be optimal during the high season but you’ll most likely end up spending more on flights and accommodation.
This post explains the pros and cons of visiting the Philippines in each season to help you decide when’s best for you. Once you’ve made up your mind, if you’re American, you’ll need to check out the Philippine visa for US citizens. Depending on the length of your stay you might need to apply for a visa before you go.
Winter in the Philippines: December to February
The first 2 months of the year are generally considered the best for visiting the Philippines. With cooler temperatures, conditions are perfect for exploring the capital city Manila and taking part in outdoor activities such as hiking and exploring the mountains.
With temperatures rarely dropping below 60 ºF, it’s the ideal choice if you’re seeking warmer climes in wintertime. Levels of rainfall are low so you can expect plenty of sunshine.
The only downside to visiting the Philippines from December to February is that lots of people will have had the same idea. The top tourist attractions can get busy and prices may be higher. Having said that, this shouldn’t make your stay any less enjoyable, just be sure to book your accommodation and flights in advance.
Spring in the Philippines: March to May
Once Spring arrives temperatures start to rise. If you’d like to visit the Philippines in Spring then March is a great time before it gets too hot.
During April and May, daytime temperatures can reach 95 ºF so you might want to stay cool in the water and take advantage of the excellent diving opportunities in the Philippines. Take the plunge and you’ll be treated to a vast array of marine life including colorful coral, tropical fish, and pygmy seahorses.
You’re unlikely to get much rain if you’re there in March, one of the driest months of the year. Precipitation increases in April and May though so be sure to pack a proper jacket!
Summer in the Philippines: June to August
Summer is the rainy season in the Philippines and many tourists stay away. That’s not to say, however, that you can’t have an enjoyable vacation. You can expect around 20 days of rainfall each month during the wet season so you’ll need to be well prepared.
The average high drops to around 90 ºF but the humidity keeps nighttime temperatures close to 80 ºF. Thunderstorms are commonplace throughout the summer.
These conditions do, however, make great conditions for surfing. If you’re an experienced surfer seeking crashing waves, summer could be a great option for you. And, when it’s not raining, you’ll be able to enjoy this beautiful Asian travel destination at its finest as the scenery is green and lush. You also won’t have to share it with too many other tourists given that most opt to visit during the drier months.
The rainy season is the best time of year to get some great deals on flights and accommodation. Just be warned, you will get wet!
Autumn in the Philippines: September to November
There’s little change in the weather during September and into October. Typhoons are not uncommon in September, and if you are thinking about visiting then be sure to check out the weather warnings before making any plans.
The rain starts to die down towards the end of October. There are several public holidays offering a fascinating insight into Filipino culture and traditions, just be aware that most shops and services will remain closed on these days. The Lanzones and MassKara festivals are not to be missed if visiting the islands in the Autumn.
There’s a marked improvement in the weather by November. With an average of 9 days of rain during the month you can enjoy more sunshine and time at the beach. Average temperatures peak at around 88 ºF in November so, like most of the year, it’s pretty hot.
November offers a window of opportunity to enjoy some lovely weather just before the start of the high season.
What to Pack for a Trip to the Philippines
Exactly what you take with you will depend on the season in which you decide to visit. Nevertheless here are some essentials that you shouldn’t leave out of your luggage regardless of the time of year:
- T-shirts and shorts
- Loose, long trousers and long-sleeved tops
- Walking shoes or sneakers
- Rain jacket (especially in the rainy season but a good idea all year round)
- Sun hat/cap
- Lightweight jacket (for cooler evenings)
- Dry bags (to keep valuables safe when it rains or when doing water sports)
Don’t forget high-factor sunscreen which you’ll need even during the cooler months and insect repellent.
Pack well for the Philippines and you can have a trip of a lifetime, whatever the weather!
Whether you love it or hate it, for plenty of visitors to New Orleans Bourbon Street is the ultimate embodiment of this hard-partying, good times-loving city. Noisy, raucous, and exciting all night long – it is a remarkable avenue that doesn’t really have an equal anywhere else in the world.
Whatever your feelings about beads, hurricane cocktails, and dancing on tables, it would be unthinkable to depart on a cruise from New Orleans without experiencing Bourbon Street at least once. Here’s a quick guide with everything you need to know before you go.
Despite its booze-fuelled rep, Bourbon Street’s name has nothing to do with the brown liquor. The street was laid out in 1721 by Adrian de Pauger and named after the French royal house of Bourbon, who controlled the city at the time. Bourbon Street was a quiet residential thoroughfare until the late 19th century when the Storyville red-light district was founded a few blocks away. Ever since then its been a place for debauchery, decadence, good times, and nocturnal entertainment.
Bourbon Street is lined with bars and clubs, but there are a few which are of particular note.
Home of the famous Hurricane cocktail, Pat O’Brien’s boasts a wonderful patio and the unique dueling piano spectacle.
Jean Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop
This old Creole cottage is packed to the rafters with history. Shrouded in mystery, it was built at some point before the founding of Bourbon Street, and was supposedly the base of the Lafitte brothers’ piratical escapades. These days it is a moodily atmospheric spot to have a drink, and well worth experiencing.
The Cat’s Meow
An astonishingly popular karaoke bar, the Cat’s Meow embraced the art form way before singing in public was seen as part of a great night out.
Did you know drinking on the street is legal in New Orleans, as long as it is from a plastic cup? This adds an extra dimension to bar-hopping on Bourbon Street, as you don’t even have to wait to finish your drink before heading to the next venue! Just decant it into a ‘geaux’ cup, and head to the next bar, drink in hand!
Despite its decadent reputation, Bourbon Street also boasts some of the finest music venues in New Orleans. Preservation Hall was founded in the 60s to celebrate the city’s jazz culture, and is a showcase for the best artists in the area. Fritzel’s European Jazz Club offers a wonderfully old-fashioned experience, while the Jazz Playhouse at the Royal Sonesta Hotel is as swanky a live venue as you are likely to find anywhere!
Bourbon Street’s vibrant, excessive, 24-hour vibe is a vital part of what makes New Orleans such an amazing city, and should be a part of any NOLA itinerary!
Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian (left) speaking at Skift Global Forum in New York City on September 18, 2019. Skift
— Tom Lowry
An American Airlines Boeing 737 Max jet in an earlier photo. American Airlines
— Tom Lowry
Airlines are eager for travelers to return in 2021. Denver International Airport / Denver International Airport
— Edward Russell
British Airways’ parent, IAG, has reconfigured its board in the wake of final approval of Brexit. Isaac Struna / Unsplash
— Tom Lowry